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Goodbye Mappin Street Hello Matilda

Alex | 29.10.2005 18:16 | Culture | Free Spaces | Sheffield

The Blind Institute on Mappin Street, like many buildings it seems these days in Sheffield, is being taken over by Sheffield University, and in partnership with the Blind Institute is being rebuilt as a centre for the blind and student accommodation.

A by product of this is that Sheffield will lose a great space where many cool small grassroots independent bands could play (or DIY, Do It Yourself bands, independent from corporate labels - as punks would call it!). While a small number of pubs remain where people can just get some bands together to play a gig and charge a few quid in on the door, the opportunities to do this seem to be getting slimmer by the year, as pubs get refurbished into swanky places, and the similar bland and unchallenging "entertainment" is served up across town, with the only purpose to make a quid or two for the venue. In this environment there could be soon no where left to go for people who want to put on gigs for no other reason than they love the music made by people like themselves, and love making something different happen, and love the bands full of kids who practice on equipment cobbled together by hook or by crook, practising in cheap rooms in the back streets of cities or the basements of the houses where they live, whose poignancy, inventiveness and humour can always astound you.

But people who love and make music are crafty folk and always find new cracks in smooth surfaces of repackaged, re-glossed towns and cities. Enter Matilda gig space. Following on the tails of the the bright spark that was Silver Squat, a dark dingy basement, left unused and unloved for a small age in the old Yorkshire Arts Space building, has been quietly transformed by people who have spent the last few weeks of summer scraping mould off walls, and repainting, and accumulating wood off skips to build a stage. The gig space is a small part of a larger exciting project in the heart of the city - the Matilda Social Centre, where activism, art and music collide, all on (extra)ordinary people's own terms. Check it out!

For Us By Us!

Silver Squat on the imc newswire -

Matilda Social Centre -

Matilda gig space collective -



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  1. Matilda is more, much more — sheff1